Wednesday, March 30, 2022

{ Getting things done }


I woke up this morning, not feeling like doing anything.  I dragged myself through coffee, hubby's lunch preparations, and then breakfast for myself at 8am.  I just wanted to lay in bed and do absolutely nothing.  
Ever since I started perimenopause, the first two days of my cycle are brutal.  I feel so drained, crampy and get hormonal headaches.  But, things need to be done, so as slow as I may move that day, I get up and honestly, after I'm up and about, I start feeling better.

Days like these, I find comfort in the menial homemaking tasks I need to standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes and listening to the birds outside. 
I stripped my bed, and put on fresh bedding.  I usually do it on Monday's but didn't get around to it, and I didn't want to wait a whole other week, so got it done this morning.  There is just something about fresh linens and a freshly made bed.  I think I've said it before, but for me, if my bed is made and my room is clean and tidy, it makes it feel like the rest of the house is in order.  

Next I moved into the kitchen and got the dishwasher unloaded, then hand washed the few breakfast dishes in the sink, wiped down the counters, opened the window and took out the meat to defrost for dinner.

Oh and I wanted to show you a quick tip for washing your dishes too.  I have this cute brown jar that I keep near my sink.  In it I have dish soap.  When I start running of dish soap, I buy a new one, but before I run out completely, I pour the remaining soap into the jar, and keep adding my leftover liquid dish soap.  

When I wash dishes by hand, I just dip my sponge into the jar, and voila.  I try to use that soap up before starting a new bottle.  It makes washing the dishes easier, because I just have to dip the sponge in, and keep going.



When the kitchen was in order, I got busy with the dining room/den area.  I started moving things around, trying to get it not so cluttered while the old couches are still waiting to be taken to the donation place.  

Is there anything worse than that moment you are right in the middle of cleaning, and you look around and there is just a mess everywhere?  Makes you feel like abandoning ship and running for the hills, but you gotta press on and finish.


And for some reason, I'm the type of person who starts working on one thing, and sees something else along the way, so gets that going as well, then sees something else and adds that to the list.

Example.....moved the couch from the wall, next to the other couches.  It is crowded and crazy but it's only until Saturday morning, and it's out of the way.  Then I moved my sideboard/dresser where I store my table linens, placemats, runners etc., to the wall where the couch was at.  But instead of stopping there, I opened every drawer and refolded, looked through, and organized the drawers again.

While I was doing that, I was eyeing the antique table up that is in the picture above, next to the couches.  It belonged to my husband's uncle's mother.  That was a mouthful.  Hahahah

His aunt gave us the table last year.  It is a beautiful wood parlor table, and though it's big and kinda clunky, I love antiques and especially family treasures, so want to use it in the house.  I


One thing I like doing while I'm working around the house, is to put a video on my laptop, and play it in the background.  It's usually a podcast, or some sort of video that I don't need to watch per say, but can listen to instead.

Once I was happy with the dining room, I moved back into the kitchen, to start some of my seeds.  Today, I planted some more lavender.  Jasmine gave me these a few weeks ago, and they've been sitting, patiently waiting for the weather to warm up.


While in there, I also changed the water on the philodendron I'm propagating.  It's always thrilling when you start seeing rooting on some of the cuttings.  As always, not all the cuttings will take, some will root, some will die. 


I gave the living room a quick tidy, nothing was really out of place, except for Elliott's toys all over the floor, which I picked up and placed on his tower and his basket.  

In the picture below you can see the new (to us) couches I mentioned.  They are beautiful and so comfy.



Now this picture may seem odd, and no I wasn't building Elliott a fort, although he did treat it like one, and slept under it for hours.  Actually, if you look on the bottom of the rack closest to the couch, you can see Elliot's shadow.  LOL

But I washed my bed linens, and didn't want to use the dryer.  Since the temperatures around here have been so nice and warm, I wanted to hang them on the clothesline to dry, but it has been super windy and I didn't want them to end up flying away.  

I opted to open my back porch door, leave the screen door closed and let that wonderful wind in.  I just pushed my two dryer racks closer to the door, and in no time, my sheets and pillow cases were dry.



After the housework was done, I finally got to sit down, give my lower back and cramps a rest, and just relax before it was time to start dinner.

I have set my current book aside, it is taking too long to read, and I have just 1 day left in March to reach my goal.  So, I've decided that I am going to grab the two smallest books I have on my pile, and try to cram them in before Friday morning.  

Then I can start April fresh, finish The Sugar Camp Quilt and grab the next book on the list, to reach my monthly goal of two books.

I think if I just stick to reading the books I feel like at the time, it will make it easier to actually stick to the 24 books for 2022 goal that I set in the beginning of the year.  If I keep forcing books on myself, I will quickly give up.  Anyone else like me?

I managed to get everything done that I wanted to, and I even crocheted.  Oh that brought me so much joy.  

I confess, I didn't crochet anything major, but just two faux wasp/hornet nests to hang out on my back patio and porch.  I've heard that they work really well to keep wasps away, because they will not build their nests if there is a big colony (nest) already in place.

Besides, I figure if for some reason these don't do the trick, at least they will look cute hanging outside the house, right?

I thought I had taken a picture of the crocheted nests, but I guess I didn't.  I did share it over on my Instagram stories, but I'll take a picture with my camera tomorrow and post it here too.  I want to make a few more, because our house is quite big, and I need a few all around the house where the wasps like to make their nests.  I'll also let you know if they actually work or not.

Well friends, I am going to take a motrin, drink a cup of tea, watch a little tv, and call it a night.

Monday, March 28, 2022

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 03/28/2022 }

Good morning my sweet friends.  I hope this post finds you doing well, rested, happy and ready for a whole new week ahead.

I must apologize for this post going up later than usual.  I've had a busy morning already, just got home and made myself some breakfast, so that now I can finally sit and work on this post.

I wish you all a very blessed week ahead, I pray the Lord covers you in His blessing and favor.

Let's get right on with our Happy Homemaker Monday,  seeing that we're running a bit late.....

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥
We are pretty much done with cold weather, and well into Spring and warm temperatures.  The days have been beautiful, warm, sunny, the trees all full of green leaves and our lawn is already turning green as well.  The past few days, the temperature has been in the high 80's, and today our high is 90.  Rest of the week is a bit cooler, but still, I'm happy with the 70's.

Monday - Sunshine, 90
Tuesday - Cloudy/wind, 83
Wednesday - Partly cloudy/wind, 65
Thursday - Partly cloudy, 75
Friday - Cloudy, 79
Saturday - Mostly sunny, 72
Sunday - Partly cloudy, 75

♥♥  As I look outside my window ♥♥
Blue skies, not a cloudy in sight.  The birds are chirping and flying all around my trees.  From here, I can now see our chicken coop.  We are building one from scratch, as we are determined to get chickens this year.  I can't wait to see it all ready.

♥♥  Right now I am ♥♥
Sitting on my bed, watching a youtube video on the tv, and typing up this post.

♥♥  Thinking and pondering ♥♥
On all that I want to get done in the yard.  We have started messing with it, here and there, but there is still so much to do.  It's normal once winter is over, to have a bit of a mess in the yard.  I need to pull weeds, I need to plant, I need to get my garden ready, we need to put down rocks, a gazebo and all sorts of things.  It's a bit frustrating for me, because of my allergies.  I can't do much outside without suffering for days after, but there are things that I can do during the week while Curt is at work, and I plan on doing them, even if I have to wear a mask to do it.

♥♥  Homemaking tips ♥♥
I'm sure many of you already do this, but every Sunday I restock the pantry and fridge, cut up veggies or fruit, and get everything ready for the week ahead.  

♥♥  How am I feeling ♥♥
I didn't sleep very well last night, kept waking up randomly throughout the night.  But, I'm doing ok.  I think Spring just makes me so happy that seeing it all come to life outside, makes me feel good inside.  Anyone else like that?

♥♥  On the breakfast plate ♥♥
I am having a cup of coffee with sweet cream creamer, and a cheese and ham toasted sandwich.

♥♥  On my reading pile ♥♥
My Bible
My devotional
The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini  (I really need to finish this one)

♥♥  On my TV this week  ♥♥
Doctor Who- I'm trying to catch up on the last season.  I stopped watching it a few years ago but have been missing it lately, so plan on catching up.
Emma - the newest version
Crime Youtube Channels
Sermons and teachings by some prophets
♥♥  On the menu  ♥♥ 
New menu will kick in on Friday, but I haven't yet started working on it.  Will do that throughout the week.

Monday - Torta de Carne de liquidificador (Ground Beef Pie), Salad
Wednesday - Crack Chicken Pierogie Pie, Veggies
Thursday - Bacon Fettucine Alfredo, Steamed Broccoli
♥♥  From the camera  ♥♥
I know life gets busy, and sometimes we lose track of time.  But I always schedule in some devotional and Bible reading time.  Even if just for 5 minutes, it has to happen during my day.

♥♥  Looking around the house  ♥♥
It is a bit of a mess right now.  Ok, well not a mess because the house itself is clean, but last week, our cousin asked us if we wanted her old couches.  They are in perfect condition, beautiful leather couches, because she was buying new ones.  We've been wanting new couches for a while, if you remember, one of our couch sets came with the house when we bought it.  They are very old, and I've used slipcovers on them for a while.  But, our plan was always to save money to buy a new set.  This offer from our cousin was a blessing for sure.  
So, we drove to Oklahoma and met her halfway and brought the couches back home.  Thing is, we still need to donate our old couches, and can only do that this coming weekend when Curt is off work.  So for now, I have a big couch in my dining room, a small chair in the hallway, and a loveseat in my living room, along with the new couches.  It is driving me up the wall.  I can't stand an untidy or cluttered house, it just bothers me, so until these are gone, I'm breathing deep and closing my eyes everytime I walk by them.  hahahah

♥♥  To do list  ♥♥
Fold and put away the laundry I washed last night (should have folded it last night but was so tired, I fell asleep watching tv)
Start the next review book
Start the new meal plan and grocery list
Write up the budget for month of April
Move my money tree to a bigger pot
Plant my 4 lavender pots
Begin cleaning out the patio
Pull weeds from walkway out back

♥♥  Devotional  ♥♥
Here is the tragedy.  Sin causes us all, in some way, to turn our backs on the love of God and give the principal love of our hearts to someone or something else.
New Morning Mercies Devotional by Paul David Tripp

Thursday, March 24, 2022

{ Who are you following? by Sadie Roberston Huff - TLC Book Tour }


About Who Are You Following? Pursuing Jesus in a Social Media Obsessed World

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 1, 2022)

Hardcover: 224 pages

If influencers have power over us, who are you allowing to influence you?

In an online world obsessed with follows and likes, it’s important to consider what you’re really searching for. When you follow someone, it’s typically because you want to be like them or live like they do­–but who have you placed as your role models?

In Who Are You Following? bestselling author and social media personality Sadie Robertson Huff dives deep into exploring who we are allowing to influence our daily thoughts and actions. With an excellent grasp of scriptural truths, using current research, surveys, and personal and biblical stories, Sadie draws on her own experience as a social media influencer and addresses topics such as

  • how to go from being liked to being truly loved
  • our true motives for fame
  • being seen from the outside versus being known
  • comparing ourselves to others
  • questioning why did I post that?!
  • how to respond to cancel culture
  • wondering does God still love me?

This book is perfect for young Christians wondering how they can live a vibrant, bold, and uncompromising life of faith in God by following the Messiah–the ultimate influencer. Discover the love, purpose, and fulfillment that is found only in Jesus.

About Sadie Robertson Huff

Sadie Robertson Huff is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, influencer, and founder of Live Original. Communicating as a sister and friend, Sadie is on a mission to reach the world with the message of Christ. The host of the popular podcast Whoa, That’s Good, which launched in 2018, she continues to top charts and minister to millions of listeners as she engages with current leaders, asking them to answer one question: “What is the best advice you have ever been given?” Live Original, Sadie’s blog, features encouraging and transparent messages from her and her closest friends, and she is also founder of the online community and app LO Sister, which are designed to cultivate sisterhood through Bible studies and workshops. Sadie, her husband, Christian, and their daughter reside in Louisiana.


Ooohhh boy.  This is one book that had me nodding along from the beginning page, to the last word on the last page.
As a blogger, who started back in 2006 when blogging and social media was kind of taking off, I can tell you that I myself have noticed the strange patterns social media has taken over the years.  So, this book resonated with me on many fronts, and it really put into words the feelings I have had brewing inside me for so long.
Sadie Robertson Huff, is part of the well known Robertson family.  You know the Duck Dynasty?  That one.  So I first became acquainted with Sadie and the family many years ago, when the show was on the air.  I didn't keep up with it, and really haven't followed them at all for a long time, so truly didn't even know Sadie had become a bestselling author.  

This book came as a surprise to me, but a very much welcome surprise.
We are all aware of social media and the so called influencers.  I will tell you right off the bat, that I have never followed anyone online, that has influenced me to do this or that.  I enjoy the people I follow, but I don't look to them to influence me one way or another, or to buy something just because they said so, or cut my hair like theirs, or shop for their clothes and so on.  Never been my thing.
As a Christian woman, it has become increasingly hard to navigate social media.  For one, I do tend to feel out of place, singled out at times and almost shunned for my beliefs.  That and the fact that I find so many called Christian influencers, also falling into the trap of likes, visualizations and doing anything and everything just for some fan interaction.  That right there, turns me off completely.
Maybe because I've never been a blogger that thrives or only thinks of comments, or doing it for traffic.  Probably also why my blog has very much stayed the same concept since 2006, I have many blog readers who have been there from the beginning, and you haven't seen nor will you ever see ads and links to products and all that stuff.
Anyway, all that to say that Sadie's book was such a refreshing read.  The book itself contains so many good simple quotes, that really get you thinking.
We all want to be loved, but the like button has trained us how to be liked.  Being loved and being liked are two completely different things.
The book starts by giving us some statistics pertaining to social media, the time we spend on it, and the amount of videos and pictures shared just between Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat.  I knew it was a lot but seeing it in black and white, on the page, was quite shocking.
Sadie touches on important issues such as who we are following, why we are following them and how it makes us feel.  Because honestly, I think we've all followed accounts that we thought were ok at first and then started feeling less than, jealous, unworthy, like they have it all together and we are just not anywhere near it.
It's toxic, like Sadie says, and I 1000% agree.
One quote that really struck me was this one:
I would rather be loved for who I am than liked for who I seem to be in the right light.  
She also focuses on our relationship with Jesus, and how sometimes we tend to project our daily relationships and interactions, into that important relationship with our Savior.  One thing she says that is so true is that our relationship with Jesus needs to be a commitment, not a convenience.  You choose to follow Him no matter what the world throws at you or uncomfortable or unpopular you become.
I've had to remind myself so many times, when I do get rude comments or hurtful comments here on my blog or Instagram, that not even Jesus was liked by everyone, and that is ok.  You don't need to like everyone or agree with everyone.  But the way you choose to approach that is what matters.
After reading through Who are you Following?, I sat and answered the questions in the back of the book, and I want you to read through these, and answer them honestly, to yourself.  
Who are the loudest voices in your life?
What platforms are influencing your life?
Where are you when you let these voices and platforms influence your life?
When do you find yourself giving time and space to follow those individuals?
Why do you follow those individuals?
Who do you want to influence in life?
What apps, platforms, podcasts, shows etc. do you need to get rid of, and which ones do you want to keep speaking into your life?
Where is the best place in your life to engage with those influences?
When is the best time for you to allow those influences in your life?
Why do you want to follow those people, both in your real life and on those platforms?
These may seem like simple questions, but when you really start thinking about what it's asking, and allow yourself to be completely honest about your answers, you will be shocked at what you discover.
I myself have unfollowed many people, I stopped using Facebook, I don't have snapchat or tiktok, and really only use Instagram.  Even there, I've done a huge clean up of who I am following or allow to follow me.    If I was doing it all for follows and likes and traffic, I would have a public profile and allow anyone and everyone to come along and see what I was sharing.  But, I don't, and I won't just let anyone onto my page.
If you're struggling with social media, influencers, the way they make you feel and how all of this affects your relationship with Jesus, please, please do yourself a favor, and get Sadie's book.  It is phenomenal and will really make you think.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson for providing me a copy of the book, and a copy of the guided journal.


{ What has really been going on with me }


I've been feeling very unmotivated again, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.  I prayed on it, over and over, asking God to enlighten me, to show me what is going on and why I feel this way.  It seems I've been feeling like this for a while.

But, I think I finally realized what is going on, with the help of God and my husband and children.  
See, this started last year around this time, when Marley first got sick.  I went months walking around like a zombie, taking my sweet boy back and forth from the Vet, trying to figure out what was wrong.  

Then he got diagnosed with Lymphoma and within a month he was gone.  It was all so quick, and yet so slow.  There were days that I felt the stress would never end, I couldn't think straight, I didn't know how to get past it, and just wanted it to end, not even realizing that once it did end, it would catapult me into a deep grief.  Yes, what I am dealing with is grief.  Pure and simple.

I don't think I ever really dealt with my feelings.  The first part of the year I was focused on *fixing* him, wasn't getting much sleep, wasn't eating properly, was exhausted mentally and physically, and then losing him was excruciating for me.  It still is.  I still can't think of him without crying and feeling a pain in my heart, like never before.

I hadn't quite realized just how deeply this had all affected me, until I tried to crochet after he passed, and I just couldn't do it.  He was my little shadow, he was always near me, always around when I was working on a new crochet project, and I guess I connected the two.  I've tried over and over to pick up my crochet hook, to start a new blanket, or work on an old unfinished one, and I just can't do it.
I even tried again last week, I grabbed my crochet bag, picked a few colors and was all set to sit and do the one thing that I have loved for so long.  Started, ripped it apart, started again, ripped it again.  Just could not feel it, and it started frustrating me, to the point I set it aside and have let it just be.  For now!
For some reason, I have not been able to get past Marley's death.  I haven't accepted it, I haven't move on, I haven't made peace with it, any of it.  It is strange in a way, because I've had so many dogs before, and I've lost so many too.  It's not that I didn't love my dogs, because I did, all of them and I felt their deaths deeply, but Marley?  There was something about him.
And that's probably why it's affected me so much.  So, I'm making myself face what happened, deal with it, as ugly and raw as it may feel.  I need to accept it, see it for what it is, and move on.  I haven't even able to get another dog, it just hasn't felt right for me.
But I'm giving myself time to really go through the process of grief, seeking help and hopefully bring a new sweet puppy into our family, by the end of the year.  I miss the companion of a dog, I just can't seem to do it quite yet. 


I'll get there, I'm sure, just as soon as I face it head on and stop living in denial.  I will say, having Elliott has been so good for me.  I had no clue I would ever all in love with a cat, but this sweet boy has become my shadow.  You know how they say cats pick their person?

I never believed that until Elliott.  He goes where I go, he has to be near me all the time, cuddles up against me, purrs and throws himself at my feet.  I love him so much!!!

As always God knew what I needed before I even did.  Thank you Lord!!!




I know that I will never get over it, that's normal,  we learn to live with it, but we don't forget.  Please just pray for me, that I am able to get through this process, to not hold back, to not shy away no matter how painful it gets.

I need to, so that I can get back to enjoying my life, and my blog, and all the things I've always loved doing.

In the meantime, I am trying to just live each day, whatever it brings.  

Whether it's enjoying watching the birds out in the yard, or new plants coming in from the ones I propagated, or just my usual homemaking, cleaning and cooking. 






The biggest thing I need to remember and keep in mind, is that we gave Marley a wonderful life.  He was so loved and so spoiled.  I wouldn't trade that for anything in this world, and if you ask me would I go through this all over again to have him here?  Absolutely, without even a second thought.  

He was that special.  

So I'll get there eventually, just have to be kind to myself and stop ignoring what happened.  

I'm sorry if this post was not my usual, but it's been weighing on my heart for a long time, and I felt I needed to get it written down and on the blog.  It's a part of my life, it's a part of my journey, and I want to be able to look back on it one day, and see where I was and how far I came.

I am looking forward to the day I come on, and share our newest family member, and know that I will be able to love him or her, just as much as I loved Marley.

If you've made it to the end of this post, thank you.  Thank you for sitting and reading and letting me vent a little.  As I said above, I would really appreciate your prayers.

I'll leave you now with a picture of my sweetest boy.  Gosh how I miss him ♥

Monday, March 21, 2022

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 03/21/2022 }

Good morning friends.  It is a cold and rainy day in my neck of the woods, and we are expecting some pretty strong storms later today.  Please keep everyone in the path of these storms, in prayer.  

This is the perfect day to stay indoors, but I have a few errands that I need to run first.  Aside from that, I plan on getting the house clean and then making some sweet bread.   I'm also thinking, a pot of hot tea, a good book and a slice of cake may just be what my afternoon will look like.

I am so sorry I didn't get to your Happy Homemaker Monday posts last week, but that is something I plan on doing today as well.
I pray you all have a wonderful blessed week.  Now, let's get right on with today's post.......

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥
It's warmed up quite nicely, matter of fact, on Saturday, Curt and I were able to get out in the back yard, do a little yard work and start making some plans for what is going in the garden, where the chicken coop will go, and so on.  Although we have strong storms coming in, I am quite thankful for the rain, which is always needed.  Rest of the week looks quite nice, except for the winds, those are just killing my allergies.

Monday - Thunderstorms, 66
Tuesday - Cloudy/wind,  53
Wednesday - Partly cloudy, 60
Thursday - Sunny, 66 
Friday - Sunny, 79
Saturday - Sunny, 76
Sunday - Mostly Sunny, 87

♥♥ As I look outside my window ♥♥
Cloudy skies.  There is a slight wind as well which is making the tree branches wave back and forth. It feels really good though, so I've opened my bedroom window to let in the fresh morning air. 
♥♥ Right now I am ♥♥ 
Sitting in bed, listening to a video on Youtube and working on this post. 

♥♥ Thinking and pondering ♥♥ 
About spring, what is going to be planted, where, how.  We want to redo the garden area and maybe shift some things around.  Also, this is the first year we will be having chickens, and I can't tell you how excited I am for that, so there's lots to plan and think and ponder on that too. 
 ♥♥ Homemaking tips ♥♥ 
Having a bread machine has been a huge life saver for me.  I don't buy bread as much as I used to, I mainly make our own during the week.  I love that I can just throw all the ingredients into the machine, let it run the dough cycle, and then just mold it, let it rise and bake it.  It really does help make things easier.   
♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥ 
Run down with the allergies.  My allergy induced asthma has been awful the past week.  The winds haven't let up, and that is the biggest issue for me, since they kick up all that I'm allergic to.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but when I tested for allergies, it turned out that I am pretty much allergic to every tree, grass and dirt that is on my property.  LOL
It was quite funny, Curt and I were saying, there doesn't seem to be a single tree around here that I am ok with.  It's usually not too bad as my body has become used to it somewhat, but the winds throw it all into the air, and that sets my coughing and weezing off. 

♥♥ On the breakfast plate ♥♥
Cup of coffee with caramel creamer, and a maple glazed donut.  I try not to buy donuts often, because they are my favorite thing on earth, and clearly I can't be trusted around them.  But, I did pick some up on Friday when I got groceries, and they have been my breakfast treat since then.  
No worries, they are almost gone (and no, not just me, the family has been enjoying them, which I'm so grateful for because it means less temptation hahah) 

♥♥ On my reading pile ♥
The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.  
The Bible, reading through Genesis. 

My list hasn't changed much at all, but I will be in Exodus this week, and finished with The Sugar Camp Quilt too, so will be moving on to a different book.

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
*  My Portuguese soaps, Quero e Viver, Serra and Para Sempre. 
Outlander - Season 6 Episode 3
Explore with Us on Youtube - I know most of you don't enjoy crime shows, but I do, so I've been watching some interrogations of well known cases. 
Catherine the Great 
The Guilded Age
All Things Great and Small

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥
Monday - Chourizo Tostadas, Mexican Rice
Tuesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad
Wednesday - Rotisserie Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts
Thursday - Shepherd's Pie, Salad 
Friday - Whistle Dogs, Potato Salad
Saturday - Slow Cooker Sausage and Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
Sunday - Chicken Curry and Rice

♥♥ From the camera ♥♥
One of my favorite meals, as a child, was this bacon spaghetti, my stepmom would make.  I make it for my family often, and they love it just as much.  If you're looking for a quick, pretty inexpensive meal to make for your family, check out the recipe on my blog.  

♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
It is almost 9am, but still quite dark outside because of the rainy weather.  Elliott is laying next to me sleeping so peacefully.  
The house is quiet, Curt is already at work, Jasmine will be heading to work in about 2 hours, and Nick is still asleep.  

♥♥ To do list ♥♥
* One load of laundry
* Run errands
* Prepare blog post for tomorrow
* Make bread and take pictures to post the recipe later today
* Devotional and Bible reading
* Finish book
♥♥  Prayer List ♥♥
Church family members....Mildred and Kitty.  
House Sale......for the last hurdle to be passed so we can sign the paperwork and finalize this sale. 
Strong Storms hitting the South today.....for all those in the path of the tornadoes, to be safe, and protected through the next few hours.
♥♥ Today's Devotional ♥♥
If God has willingly canceled whatever regret causes you to hold on to, you are free to let it go as well.  You are free to quit punishing yourself for debts that God has already canceled.  Now, that's freedom!
 - New Morning Mercies Devotional by Paul David Tripp   

Friday, March 18, 2022

{ Edward and Annie: A Penguin Adventure - TLC Book Tour }

About Edward and Annie: A Penguin Adventure

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2022)

Hardcover: 32 pages

Join famous penguins, Edward and Annie, the viral sensations, as they waddle through Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium in this funny and surprising adventure story.

When no one comes to visit the aquarium, penguin pair Edward and Annie wonder, Where did everyone go? This colorful romp through Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium from author Caryn Rivadeneira takes children and their families on an adventure of wonder through the marine world. As Edward and Annie explore the unknown parts of their aquarium home and meet the other wonderfully strange creatures living there, these penguin friends discover that the world is much bigger and more interesting than they ever knew. After much excitement and many surprises, they return to the penguin habitat for the best end to any day: a cozy rest at home.

Edward and Annie teaches 4 to 8-year-olds that

  • great discoveries and new friends can come from life’s biggest changes
  • the best adventures start with trying something new
  • a community is made of individuals who are each different, beautiful, and amazing

In this funny read-aloud picture book, children will

  • meet the real-life rockhopper penguins, Edward and Annie, who made a splash on social media
  • learn about the other sea animals that live at Shedd Aquarium, including Wellington the penguin and Annik the baby beluga
  • have fun learning fascinating science facts during family reading time or as part of preschool and elementary STEM lessons in marine biology
  • laugh at the penguins’ curious questions and silly antics

Your family will fall in love with these sweet, energetic penguins as together you discover that the world is a wonderful and surprising place–a place that is even better when explored with a friend by your side!

About the Author and Illustrator

Caryn Rivadeneira writes stories that spark wonder, fuel curiosity, and craft worlds that help kids find their place in this one. She is the author of books for children and adults, including the Moonbeam Award–winning Helper Hounds series, Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible, Edward and Annie: A Penguin Adventureand Saints of Feather and Fang: How the Animals We Love and Fear Connect Us to God. Caryn lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three kids, and two rescued pit bulls.

Katy Tanis is an illustrator, explorer, and children’s book author. She lives and works at the Jersey shore. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in biology through Miami University in partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society. She spends most of her days chasing deadlines but occasionally wanders to far-off places, like Madagascar, where she chases primates instead. Her work is inspired by specific ecosystems and the wonderful webs of life that they contain. She has a soft spot for the weirdos of the animal kingdom, and she’s never met a color she didn’t like.

I absolutely adore Penguins.  Anytime I am at a zoo or aquarium, I am always drawn to the Penguin display, and that is usually where I'll spend most of the time, just watching them.
When this book came in, I stopped what I was doing and read it.  Yes it is for children, and I passed it on to my almost 4 year old great niece, Eva, but I had to read it myself.  I don't know about you all, but to this day, children's books fascinate me.  The illustrations and the sweet stories are sure to bring a smile to anyone's face.
In Edward and Annie, we meet the two penguins who live at the Shedd Aquarium.
Edward and Annie above - Credit Shedd Aquarium
After receiving the book and finding out that it was based on two actual penguins, I went in search of more information and what I found was such a sweet story.  During the start of the pandemic in 2020, when everything shut down, Edward and Annie were given free reign to walk through the aquarium, and visit other aquatic animals as well as different displays throughout the building.
Now how adorable is that???  And why did I never hear about this until now?
So in this cute book, we are taken along with the two penguins, as they walk through the Chicago Shedd Aquarium, they find new friends, explore new exhibits and have a ton of funny questions and silly little antics during their walkthrough.
I had never seen a children's book like this, in this sort of format, and I found it to be not only beautiful to look at, but very informative for little ones and big ones alike, as we learn scientific facts about the different aquatic animals.

It is a fun way to teach children about these animals, while engaging them in a story that is not only true, but about animals you can visit for yourself at the Shedd Aquarium.

My great niece is going to love this one, and I can't wait to hear what she thought.

If you are interested in more, be sure to go over and visit the Shedd Aquarium, but also pick up a copy of this sweet book for your family.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy for review.

Monday, March 14, 2022

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 03/14/2022 }

Good morning, good morning.  How was your weekend?
Ours was good but quite busy, I honestly feel like I didn't have a weekend, just a super long week.  But, nonetheless, here we are, Monday morning and another full week before us.  I hope the Lord blesses you and grants you a peaceful, wonderful week with your family.
Let's get on and see what we have going on around our homes. 

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥
We had what I think was the last winter storm, last week.  Really hoping at least.  It's been quite weird with cold and hot and cold and hot.  But this week we are finally heading into the hot weather, and I'm thinking it is finally going to stick around. 

Monday - Partly cloudy, 68
Tuesday - Sunny, 68
Wednesday - Sunny, 81
Thursday - PM showers, 77 
Friday - Partly cloudy, 64
Saturday - Sunny, 72
Sunday - Mostly Sunny, 78

♥♥ As I look outside my window ♥♥
Cloudy skies.  There is a slight breeze which is making the branches on the trees, wave to and fro.  The birds are flying about, chirping loudly, and reminding me that Spring is right around the corner.  I love this time of year, our property is flooded with birds, there are nests on every tree, and little ones being born. 
♥♥ Right now I am ♥♥ 
Typing up this post and eating my breakfast. 

♥♥ Thinking and pondering ♥♥ 
What to do.  For about a month we kept hearing what we assumed was a mouse in our walls, chewing on something.  Curt went into the attic multiple times but couldn't find anything at all.  This morning, I was laying in bed with Elliott, and was startled by a loud crash on my window above.  Whatever was chewing about came crashing through the wall.  It turned out to be a squirrel.  I screamed with fright and he scurried back to through the hole he made into the attic.
Curt is coming home at lunch time, to try and patch that wall up and see about removing this squirrel from our attic.  I don't think I ever got such a big fright as I did this morning.  My goodness. 
 ♥♥ Homemaking tips ♥♥ 
One thing I always do, is to pour some Fabuloso cleaner, into the bowl of the toilet brush.  It helps to keep it clean and it also smells wonderful in the bathroom.  

♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥ 
Tired, quite tired this morning.  Anytime we change the clocks for Spring, and lose that hour, I feel so exhausted the first few days.  I guess it's my body trying to adjust. 

♥♥ On the breakfast plate ♥♥
Cup of coffee with Hazelnut creamer, and a fresh bread roll (baked yesterday), with butter and ham.   

♥♥ On my reading pile ♥
The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.  
The Bible, reading through Genesis. 

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
*  My Portuguese soaps, Quero e Viver, Serra and Para Sempre. 
Outlander - The new season started last week. 
Catherine the Great 
The Guilded Age
All Things Great and Small - Season Two 

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥

Monday - Chicken Strogonoff, Basmati Rice, Beans and Salad

Tuesday - Baked Tortellini, Garlic Bread, Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday - Roast Chicken Legs, Roast Potatoes, Sauteed Pumpkin
Thursday - Mexican Lasagna, Salad 
Friday - *Grocery Shopping*

Saturday -

Sunday -

♥♥ From the camera ♥♥
Bread straight out of the oven.

♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
I am so glad I cleaned my house top to bottom.  It's just a matter of keeping on top of the daily tidying up, and I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor right now.
I do have a pile of clean towels, neatly folded on my dining table, which I need to put away.  Also have 3 boxes of lego castle and ships, that my husband and son are putting together to display in the office.  These boxes have moved from Idaho to Arizona, back to Idaho and then on to Texas. 

♥♥ To do list ♥♥
* Put the clean towels away
* Dust and vacuum
* Start working on the new menu and grocery list 
* Call base pharmacy to refill my patches
* Devotional and Bible reading
♥♥  Prayer List ♥♥
My sister in law Hayley......she had her last radiation treatment on Friday.  We are all so thankful to God for healing her of this cancer, though the treatments have been quite brutal.  She now has to heal from the radiation.  If you've never seen anyone after radiation treatment, it is so painful, and looks quite awful.  I saw it both with my mother in law and now my sister in law.  Breaks my heart.
My mom Jacinta.....for continued healing and protection from these constant falls.  She broke her wrists two years ago from one of these falls, and is quite bruised up constantly.  It's really sad to know this is happening, and I am so far away.  nfused.  She is 74 years old, and we are having to make some very difficult decisions at this time.
Church family members....quite a few dealing with cancer of different types.  Our music director is sick as well with a bad flu.
♥♥ Today's Devotional ♥♥
Anytime you question God's wisdom or step over his boundaries, you are telling yourself that you are smarter than God.
 - New Morning Mercies Devotional by Paul David Tripp   

Thursday, March 10, 2022

{ Say all the Unspoken Things by John Sowers - TLC Book Tour }


 All the Unspoken Things: A Book of Letters
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 1, 2022)
Paperback: 240 pages

From the author: “Many of us go through life with words and feelings stranded in our hearts. Words we deeply feel but never say. Sometimes we never have the chance. We don’t always get to say goodbye. We don’t always know when will be our last hug, high five, smile, laugh or ‘I love you.’ All we have is today, now, and what we do in this one, shining moment.”

Say All the Unspoken Things is about living, speaking and loving from our deep hearts. Written as personal letters from a father to his daughters, it covers topics such as: bravery, wonder, beauty, kindness, romance, and God’s patient love. This book will help us find our stranded words, speak more freely and move away from a distracted and shallow life.

John Sowers is a published author and speaker, and his work and writings have been featured by Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, Mariah Shriver, Oprah Radio, The Oregonian, The Oklahoman, and others. John received the President’s Champion of Change award at the White House from President Obama.

John has led a homeless shelter, and worked with youth and in prisons. He co-founded The Mentoring Project with Donald Miller, and was multi-language director for the Billy Graham Association, working with twenty-six language groups in Los Angeles and New York. He received his Masters Of Divinity from Trinity and his Doctorate from Gordon Conwell. He is the author of: Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story and Heroic Path: In Search of the Masculine Heart. He has written for the White House, Relevant magazine, Wilderness, and others. But his favorite pastime is being a dad to his daughters, Rosie, Dassi, and Eva. John lives in a cabin in the woods near Ozark, Missouri.
This book couldn't have come at a better time in my life.  

Say all the Unspoken Things, invites us to say it all, to make our feelings known, to tell the people we love how much we love and appreciate them.  To not leave anything unsaid.

I have found that the last two years have been so difficult for so many of us.  There have been numerous losses, health crises, a pulling and a shaping, a molding and pressing into our souls, that have at times left us speechless.  

John Sowers decided in 2020, right in the beginning of the year, to start writing letters to his daughters.  It came about after the loss of his mom, the previous year.  He felt he had so much to say, so many words stuck in his heart that needed to come out.

The book is written in the form of short letters to his three girls.  Pouring into the letters, his innermost thoughts and feelings.  He was determined to leave nothing unspoken.

I don't think there is anything in this book that I didn't love.  The fact that it is written in short chapters (letters), is a big plus because throughout my days, I was able to read just one or two, depending on the time I had.

The book made me realize that my blog, IS my own way of writing letters, that will be here long after I'm gone.  So in a way, I have been leaving my thoughts and feelings written down.  The truth is that each day we have is a blessing, each could be our last.  But how many of us are living just from moment to moment, leaving things unsaid?  Have you told your children, your spouse, your parents or siblings and friends, that you love them?  

Have you taken the time to express to them what you appreciate, the things they've done for you, how they've blessed your life?

This book urges you to really take a look at the things you have kept deep within your heart and soul, because sometimes we don't get the chance to say them.

In the kind of chaotic world we are living in at the moment, I think it's imperative that we really take the time to speak and live these words out.  I appreciate John Sowers for reminding me that the shallow life around us, is just a distraction, from what really needs to be said and lived.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me with a review copy.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

{ Winter's last hoorah and an old book }


I've been so busy the past week.  There have been things to decide, things to discuss, things to finalize, and a house that I have been giving a good clean, top to bottom.

The homemaking bug started nibbling at me, the week prior.  This niggling need to clean and organize.  Perhaps as a precursor to Spring coming up, or perhaps just my need to keep my hands busy while other more important issues, are out of my control.

I will say, that as in true Godly fashion, one of the issues seemed so impossible for us to get around, but after casting it upon the Lord, in no time it was fixed and easily dealt with.  Praise the Lord for always coming through.



The past two years, my Bible has become my trusty friend.  I find myself reaching for it when I need inspiration, or when I need clarification for a specific issue at hand, or even current events in the world.  It's all right there, in those pages, all you have to do is open it up and let the glory flow through.

But as I've been leaning on my Bible so much, it has been showing wear and tear.  Specifically my tabs, which sometimes end up folded over, or tearing, or pulling this way and that.

I spent some time the other morning, going through and methodically applying pieces of tape to the back and front of the tabs.  It is now reinforced and hopefully able to withstand my constant flipping of pages, back and forth.


Last weekend, we had the most glorious of weather.  83 degrees.  Everyone was out in shorts, tank tops, dresses, flip flops or sandals.  There was a bright sun shining in the sky,  which seemed to lift people's spirits.  I have not seen as many smiling faces as I that weekend.  Beaming smiles, happy, content, joyful.

I took full advantage, slipped on some cute sandals and a cute dress, and hung some laundry to dry.  I didn't place it outside because my husband and I , along with my sister in law Hayley and my brother Miguel, were headed to Oklahoma  for the day.  The weather mentioned some high winds, and I really didn't want to think of returning home, to find my laundry had flown away.

Funny though how even just the scent of drying laundry, indoors, seems to lift the spirits.

But that was then, and here we are today, 25 degrees, expecting a last winter storm for tomorrow and leading into the weekend.  Snow and some wintry mix.  My mind says I should scream at the top of my lungs, or stomp my feet and beg this weather to leave, but that wouldn't be productive would it?  I don't think the weather would hear a single word I said, and in the end it would just do what it wants to anyway.

So, I will just say nothing and ride out this last winter hoorah. 


Although, days like these, are perfect for reading, especially if it's a good book.  I guess that's also subjective to the reader, and their taste.  Me, I prefer old books, stories of pioneers, or quilts, history novels, biographies from people who played important roles in history, the holocaust and tudor times......I think you get the idea.  

I've been sending out books through paperbackswap, there have been many requests lately, which mean I've managed to get rid of the books I no longer need or want to keep in my library, and in return, I've been collecting those that I've had on a wish list for many the Janette Oke's Women of the West Series.


And this one above.  A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.  Oh I've been eyeing this one for so long, and could never find a copy, until last week.  I managed to find one, and as you can tell it is an old, very much used and loved book.  Some may dislike books in this condition, but I happen to love them.

See I believe that books tell a story, not only within it's pages, but also of the hands that have picked it up, flipped though, read each word.  It's these old books that I find fascinating.

If you're wondering what A Lantern in Her Hand is about, here is the summary for you:

"Sometimes it all comes over me," young Abbie said to her fiance, "that I can do big things. It's ahead of me...kind of like a light in the woods that shines and stays far away. And when I read verse or hear beckons me one, and my throat hurts with wanting to do something great."

Abbie Deal did do something great, even if it wasn't what she had dreamed of. And years later, when her children, raised in a rude sod hut, were prosperous men and women of a thriving state, she could say proudly, "I've seen everything...and I've hardly been away from this yard. I've seen the feeble beginnings of a raw state and the civilization that developed there, and I've been part of the beginning and part of the growth. But it's funny," she added, "I was always too busy filling up the youngsters and getting patches on the overalls to notice that I was part of the epic."

A strong an vigorous picture of pioneer life. The magnificent story of a young girl who went West as a bride -- and helped to build a nation.


Women of the West is also a series that I'm quite looking forward to reading.  I'm actually debating setting aside the books in my pile for this year, and slipping these in first.  

These books are about the pioneers and the women who made their way west, some alone, some with their families.  There are 12 books in the series, and you can find all the titles over on Goodreads.


As always, between all this, good food still abounds.  I made an amazing Dulce de Leche Cheesecake last week.  I think it was the first time that I made a cheesecake that didn't crack on the top, it set beautifully and is so good, sooooooo good.  I will try to pass the recipe on to you all, either later today or tomorrow.

Last night for dinner, I made scrumptious calzones, using my usual honey pizza dough.  They turned out amazing, and I even managed to send one to work with hubby, for his lunch.  If you're looking for an easy pizza dough, this is the one.  It's been my go to for 15 years or so.


I am hoping this week is a bit more quiet and calmer than last, so that I can get a few more blog posts in.  We will have to see how it goes.

Today I am carpet cleaning the office and hallway, and I also need to go by the post office to mail off one more book.  I'm going to try and get that all done this morning, so that I have the rest of the day indoors, away from the cold.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far, I hope it's blessed, I hope you are happy and content, and staying strong and focused through these difficult times we're all living.

Remember if you need encouragement and help, you just need to look no further than the Bible, and our Lord who is always there ready, listening, waiting.